Assaying potential carcinogens with Drosophila.
Drosophila offers many advantages for the detection of mutagenic activity of carcinogenic agents. It provides the quickest assay system for detecting mutations in animals today. Its generation time is short, and Drosophila is cheap and easy to breed in large numbers. The simple genetic testing methods give unequivocal answers about the whole spectrum of relevant genetic damage. A comparison of the detection capacity of assays sampling different kinds of genetic damage revealed that various substances are highly effective in inducing mutations but do not produce chromosome breakage effects at all, or only at much higher concentrations than those required for mutation induction. Of the different assay systems available, the classical sex-linked recessive lethal test deserves priority, in view of its superior capacity to detect mutagens. Of practical importance is also its high sensitivity, because a large number of loci in one fifth of the genome is tested for newly induced forward mutations, including small deletions. The recent findings that Drosophila is capable of carrying out the same metabolic activation reactions as the mammalian liver makes the organism eminently suitable for verifying results obtained in prescreening with fast microbial assay systems. An additional advantage in this respect is the capacity of Drosophila for detecting short-lived activation products, because intracellular metabolic activation appears to occur within the spermatids and spermatocytes. (+info)
Early embryonic death of mice deficient in gamma-adaptin.
Intracellular protein transport and sorting by vesicles in the secretory and endocytic pathways requires the formation of a protein coat on the membrane. The heterotetrameric adaptor protein complex 1 (AP-1) promotes the formation of clathrin-coated vesicles at the trans-Golgi network. AP-1 interacts with various sorting signals in the cytoplasmic tails of cargo molecules, thus indicating a function in protein sorting. We generated mutants of the gamma-adaptin subunit of AP-1 in mice to investigate its role in post-Golgi vesicle transport and sorting processes. gamma-Adaptin-deficient embryos develop until day 3.5 post coitus and die during the prenidation period, revealing that AP-1 is essential for viability. In heterozygous mice the amount of AP-1 complexes is reduced to half of controls. Free beta1- or micro1 chains were not detectable, indicating that they are unstable unless they are part of AP-1 complexes. Heterozygous mice weigh less then their wild-type littermates and show impaired T cell development. (+info)
Rac1 is required for the formation of three germ layers during gastrulation.
The Rac1, a member of the Rho family proteins, regulates actin organization of cytoskeleton and cell adhesion. We used genetic analysis to elucidate the role of Rac1 in mouse embryonic development. The rac1 deficient embryos showed numerous cell deaths in the space between the embryonic ectoderm and endoderm at the primitive streak stage. Investigation of the primary epiblast culture isolated from rac1 deficient embryos indicated that Rac1 is involved in lamellipodia formation, cell adhesion and cell migration in vivo. These results suggest that Rac1-mediated cell adhesion is essential for the formation of three germ layers during gastrulation. (+info)
Embryological study of a T/t locus mutation (tw73) affecting trophectoderm development.
Mouse embryos homozygous for the recessive lethal mutation tw73 show specific defects in trophectoderm shortly after implantation. The trophectoderm and ectoplacental cone fail to form the usual close association with the uterine decidua, and proliferation is markedly reduced. The embryo proper ceases to develop beyond the two-layered stage and degenerates and dies within 5 days of implantation. (+info)
Anterior organization of the Caenorhabditis elegans embryo by the labial-like Hox gene ceh-13.
The Caenorhabditis elegans lin-39, mab-5 and egl-5 Hox genes specify cell fates along the anterior-posterior body axis of the nematode during postembryonic development, but little is known about Hox gene functions during embryogenesis. Here, we show that the C. elegans labial-like gene ceh-13 is expressed in cells of many different tissues and lineages and that the rostral boundary of its expression domain is anterior to those of the other Hox genes. By transposon-mediated mutagenesis, we isolated a zygotic recessive ceh-13 loss-of-function allele, sw1, that exhibits an embryonic sublethal phenotype. Lineage analyses and immunostainings revealed defects in the organization of the anterior lateral epidermis and anterior body wall muscle cells. The epidermal and mesodermal identity of these cells, however, is correctly specified. ceh-13(sw1) mutant embryos also show fusion and adhesion defects in ectodermal cells. This suggests that ceh-13 plays a role in the anterior organization of the C. elegans embryo and is involved in the regulation of cell affinities. (+info)
The Drosophila beta FTZ-F1 orphan nuclear receptor provides competence for stage-specific responses to the steroid hormone ecdysone.
The acquisition of competence is a key mechanism for refining global signals to distinct spatial and temporal responses. The molecular basis of competence, however, remains poorly understood. Here, we show that the beta FTZ-F1 orphan nuclear receptor functions as a competence factor for stage-specific responses to the steroid hormone ecdysone during Drosophila metamorphosis. beta FTZ-F1 mutants pupariate normally in response to the late larval pulse of ecdysone but display defects in stage-specific responses to the subsequent ecdysone pulse in prepupae. The ecdysone-triggered genetic hierarchy that directs these developmental responses is severely attenuated in beta FTZ-F1 mutants, although ecdysone receptor expression is unaffected. This study define beta FTZ-F1 as an essential competence factor for stage-specific responses to a steroid signal and implicates interplay among nuclear receptors as a mechanism for achieving hormonal competence. (+info)
The Drosophila gene stand still encodes a germline chromatin-associated protein that controls the transcription of the ovarian tumor gene.
The Drosophila gene stand still (stil) encodes a novel protein required for survival, sexual identity and differentiation of female germ cells. Using specific antibodies, we show that the Stil protein accumulates in the nucleus of all female germ cells throughout development, and is transiently expressed during early stages of male germline differentiation. Changes of Stil subnuclear localization during oogenesis suggest an association with chromatin. Several mutant alleles, which are point mutations in the Stil N-terminal domain, encode proteins that no longer co-localized with chromatin. We find that Stil binds to many sites on polytene chromosomes with strong preference for decondensed chromatin. This localization is very similar to that of RNA polymerase II. We show that Stil is required for high levels of transcription of the ovarian tumor gene in germ cells. Expression of ovarian tumor in somatic cells can be induced by ectopic expression of Stil. Finally, we find that transient ubiquitous somatic expression of Stil results in lethality of the fly at all stages of development. (+info)
The frequency and allelism of lethal chromosomes in isolated desert populations of Drosophila pseudoobscura.
Second-chromosome lethals were extracted from four populations of Drosophila pseudoobscura in Southern California. Two of the populations were from desert oases and two from the classic habitat on Mt. San Jacinto, previously studied by Dobzhansky. Allelism tests were made on the lethals within and between all locations. The frequency of lethal second-chromosomes in each location was 0.18, and this was not different from the results of other workers for samples throughout the species range. Interpopulational allelism rates were about 0.005, and not different from earlier results of Dobzhansky. Intrapopulational rates in this study were, with one exception, the same as the interpopulational rates, and significantly lower than Dobzhansky found using the third chromosome. This may be due to lethals being linked with heterotic third-chromosome inversions. The allelism rate of the exceptional population (about 0.03 and equal to Dobzhansky's intrapopulational results) may be due to heterotic lethals, or a founder effect. Two lethals were found in three populations each, possibly due to migration among these populations, which are up to 334 km apart. (+info)